Still no word from Arsene Wenger in the wake of Sunday’s events which is a bit surprising, I have to say. The only comment from inside the club came from Chairman Peter Hill-Wood who played down what happened. He said:
I donâ€™t intend to say anything to Arsene. I think it is a very minor incident. No more than that.
Too true and it’s being blown out of all proportion, I think. Yes, it was unusual to see any manager let alone Arsene Wenger react like that but in the grand scheme of things it’s nothing much. Pardew acted like a cunt, Wenger reacted. The only thing I would say is that people are far too quick to overlook the reasons why Wenger might have reacted like that. After 10 years in the job without anything like this and similar incidents in the past what was different this time around? Perhaps we’ll never know.
Some reports suggest that the two managers face disciplinary action, probably because of the Sky hype. They’d be much better off spending their time looking for the coin throwers. Cesc Fabregas and Jens Lehmann also face action for incidents involving Teddy Sheringham. Cesc could face a ban for some really light ‘punches’, and they are to punches what midgets are to real people, to Sheringham’s midriff while Jens went crazy with his trusty water bottle again squirting Chief Cuntingham in the face. Pah, que sera sera.
However rubbish Cesc’s punches were and however juvenile Jens’ squirting antics are it’s a whole lot better than seeing Thierry Henry walk off the pitch trying to put his arms around Sheringham (thanks to Simon for pointing out this clip which shows he wasn’t laughing and joking with him). Some people are saying he shouldn’t be captain and they may have a point, to an extent, but I don’t think simply changing the captain will do much positive. Firstly there’s the issue of taking it away from him. He is proud of being captain and it would hurt and humiliate him. Secondly, I don’t think leadership on the pitch has to come solely from the captain. There are other players who can add to that. The most obvious candidate, in my view, is Philippe Senderos who has that natural leadership quality that Henry doesn’t have. We don’t need to take away the captaincy for those players to step up though.
What I would like to see is more fire from Thierry. He said the other day he was driven by anger. I want to see the anger before the game, during the game and, if things go wrong, after the game. There’s all the time in the world to be a playful gentleman at the final whistle. And that’s the thing, Thierry Henry is just a genuinely nice guy. He’s not a cunt, he’d never react to someone like Roy Keane did to Patrick Vieira in the tunnel, he’d be more likely to try and break it up so people’s expectations of his behaviour need to bear that in mind.
He’s got to stop trying to be everyone’s friend on the pitch though. We need him to remember the anger that motivated him in the past. We need to put him in a chair and show him Graham Poll during the Newcastle game, Stefan Henchoz handballing in the FA Cup final, various other incidents that have fired him up. We need to tell him that even though he’s a nice guy on the pitch the rest of the fuckers are still going to make Ronaldinho player of the year because they don’t see what an on-form Thierry Henry can do for us week in week out season after season after season.
We also need to use him in a system that gets the best out of him and that’s 4-4-2. 4-5-1 is an experiment gone too far now. People will say we’d be too lightweight in midfield against the likes of Bolton but we’ve beaten Bolton and nearly everyone else before playing that system. If we need to be more physical then we play a big, strong, go fuck yourself back four that can cope with whatever’s thrown at it.
We do not see the best of Thierry playing 4-5-1. It’s like being married to Angelina Jolie and making her wear Nora Batty style bloomers. We don’t have a player who can naturally play the wide left position in that formation either. Robin van Persie is a striker and should be playing there. He too is wasted in the 4-5-1 so let’s temper the criticism of Henry, and I’ll be the first to say he’s not playing well and can do better, and judge him when he’s playing the formation that suits him and the way we expect him to play.
Anyway, with a game tomorrow against Everton we have to hear from the boss sooner or later. I suspect he’ll be reluctant to go into too much detail about Pardew thought.
Ahead of that game Phil Neville says Arsenal should have shown more respect to Everton after their 11 men behind the ball tactics at Ashburton Grove the other week. He says:
Iâ€™ve played against teams with men behind the ball who play counter-attack football. And youâ€™ve got to play that way if you want to have any joy at the Emirates Stadium.
Someone should tell him that in order to be a counter-attacking team you actually need to counter-attack and not hoof the ball as far upfield as you can. A full preview of the Carling Cup game tomorrow.
Just another quick mention for Perry Groves’ book ‘We all live in a Perry Groves world‘. The campaign to ensure his book sells more than Ashley Cole’s got a mention in the Sunday Independent here in Ireland this week. It said ‘Arsenal supporters on the internet’ rather than Arseblog but never mind. All things going well Perry should be appearing on this week’s arsecast (in association with classicfootballshirts.co.uk) and as usual if you have any questions or points for discussion you can email arsecast@[remove]arseblog.com
And that’s that.